Benefits of A Vegetarian Diet For Managing Diabetes, Recipe Included
Though it is not likely to cure your diabetes, eating a vegetarian diet may help control some of the symptoms, stave off diabetes-related complications, and possibly make the body more insulin-responsive.
The benefits depend on the type of vegetarian diet adopted. A vegetarian who allows dairy products will experience different results than a vegan, a person who eliminates all animal products from his or her diet.
Even if you do not choose a vegetarian lifestyle, you can enjoy some of its perks by preparing veggie meals a few times each month.
Three Vegetarian Diet Benefits
- Controlling blood glucose. Foods prominent in vegetarian diets – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes – help the body control blood glucose and become more responsive to insulin. This reduces the risk of complications related to diabetes and may lower the amount of medication you require. However, diabetic vegetarians need to monitor their intake of simple carbohydrates or starches, which can quickly elevate blood sugar.
- Managing weight. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in calories than non-vegetarian diets, making weight management an easier task. Vegans, who eat no meat or meat-related products, also have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than most of us. Having a healthy body weight and BMI aids in blood glucose management, lowers the risk of diabetes-related complications, and facilitates overall well-being.
- Maintaining a healthy heart. Enjoying a low-fat vegetarian diet will decrease your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, a complication that often accompanies diabetes. Though keeping a strict vegan diet is not for everyone, it is cholesterol-free, high in soluble fiber, and very low in saturated fat – further lowering the risk of heart disease.
Veggie Pita Pizzas
Pizza is always fun to eat, and a veggie pizza might be the perfect way to experiment with vegetarian dining. This recipe is quick to prepare, and you can easily substitute your favorite veggie toppings.
- 2 large pitas, whole wheat
- 1 medium tomato
- 3 oz. fresh zucchini
- 8 medium mushrooms, fresh
- 1 yellow onion
- 8 black olives
- ¼ tsp. each of dried oregano, dried basil and garlic powder
- 4 Tbsp. low-sodium spaghetti sauce
- 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, part-skim
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a knife to cut around the edge of each pita, splitting each into two rounds or crusts.
- Put the rounds on a baking sheet; bake until crisp – about 2 or 3 minutes.
- Chop the tomato, zucchini, mushrooms, olives and onion and put into a bowl; mix in the oregano, dried basil and garlic powder.
- Spread a tablespoon of the spaghetti sauce over each pita round and spoon the veggie mixture over the top, dividing it evenly between the four rounds.
- Sprinkle each pizza with an ounce of shredded cheese.
- Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted; cut each round into four wedges and serve.